Won't Someone Please Think of the Children? A Community School Supplies Rant

3 years ago

Just when I was reflecting on how rant-free my blog has been of late, I found a post that made me want to bitch slap the author. Since I believe it's assault (and maybe a felony?) to bitch slap a stranger, plus logistically difficult as the author lives far away, I've decided to give her a virtual bitch slap.


I'll summarize the post because I refuse to link to it: This mom is incensed by the idea of community school supplies. She finds the idea of buying supplies for her kid, which are then "dumped" together with all the other kids' supplies and shared, EVIL.


(It must be nice to live in a world so sheltered that the great evil that befalls children is not illness or abuse or hunger, but having to share school supplies.) 


She goes on to discuss how important it is for kids to learn to take care of their own supplies and be responsible for their own things. Okay, having been a teacher who used community supplies, I can tell you that kids have to be responsible for PLENTY, they don't need to be freaking out about losing their orange crayon or fighting over whose Angry Birds pencil is whose. Even with community supplies, kids have their own notebooks and workbooks and textbooks and agendas. . .isn't that enough to teach responsibility? Not to mention backpacks, hats, gloves, lunchboxes, water bottles, do they really need more?


Then she laments how access to community supplies leads kids to be entitled - how they then feel free to take stuff off of the teacher's desk and how they always assume someone will provide them with papers and pencils. My former students? Many of whom did not exactly have role models at home, never felt entitled to take shit off my desk. EVER. Yet I always had community supplies for them. Hmmm.


I wonder if it's kids who have parents who are so convinced of their special snowflake-ness that they can't imagine sharing supplies who are more likely to feel entitled and less likely to be responsible later in life? #justatheory


Then there's a brief discussion of germs and community supplies. First of all, classrooms are pretty much germfests anyway. Second of all, having shared supplies pretty much guarantees that the kids chide each other for things like chewing on pencils and not washing their hands - I'd argue that it makes the kids more responsible and more interested in hygiene. And any decent teacher removes pencils that have been chewed from the community pot. Duh.


Finally, she goes on and on about how she likes to buy her kids the best, most personalized supplies and how she's happy to donate supplies for those children who don't have their own. How kind. Obviously she's never had sympathy for the kid who's stuck with donated supplies while everyone around him has pencils with their names on them. And even more obviously, she thinks it's a BIG DEAL what pencils and folders her kids use at school.


She might argue that she's only making it a big deal because her kids really want the My Little Pony pencils or whatever. Well, she could buy them and let them use them at home, so why is that a factor here?


She also talks about how much she had to share in her youth and how she loved have school supplies of her very own. As I listed above, kids still have plenty of their own things, even if they share pencils and whatnot. Also, I hated gym as a child, but that doesn't mean I cry about my kids having gym today. It seems supremely unhealthy to actually try to pass childhood traumas onto your own children.


She ends her rant by saying that when supplies go in the community pot, she'll just buy them at Dollar Tree. Uh, why wouldn't you buy them there in the first place? Is your town so snobby that the kids want designer supplies? I mean, I live in a town with some people who are very, very, very financially fortunate and I don't know anyone who wants to spend more money on school supplies.


What's your feeling about sharing school supplies?

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